Managing Bipolar Disorder: 5 Things You Must Know
Bipolar disorder management can be challenging at times. Sometimes mental wellness seems to be easy to achieve while other times it seems almost impossible. However, if you remember these tips on how to manage bipolar disorder, you can put them into practice when things get tough (What Is Bipolar Disorder Self-Help and Is It Really Helpful?).
Bipolar Management Tip #1: Get Involved in Your Treatment
When treatment is started, most patients don’t know about bipolar disorder or bipolar disorder treatment, over time, though, many people develop their own ideas about the path treatment should follow. Part of effective bipolar disorder management is about sharing these ideas with your treatment team.
When you get involved in your own treatment, you begin to feel empowered and like you have a better handle on your illness.
Bipolar Management Tip #2: Recognize Your Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder
There are signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder found in a textbook and there are those experienced by any one individual. If you want to manage your bipolar disorder successfully, you have to recognize what you experience as part of the illness. Start by talking to your doctor about all the possible signs and symptoms as noted in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and work from there. And remember that not everything you experience may be captured in a textbook but it still may be normal for you.
Bipolar Management Tip #3: Create Structure in Your Life
Bipolar disorder can be thought of as a regulation disorder. It is particularly challenging to regulate your moods, of course, but others things like sleep can also be very difficult to regulate. Putting structure in your life is an important way to manage bipolar disorder. Structure around sleep is the most important. Going to bed at the same time every day and getting up at the same time every day will work wonders, but other structure such as when you eat, what you eat and exercise can help, too.
Bipolar Management Tip #4: Learn to Manage Stress
Stress is something that can negatively affect anyone and for a person with bipolar disorder, stress can make the illness flare up. Part of a bipolar management plan should always include learning to spot stress, watching for its effects on you and putting in place ways of dealing with it (take the Online Stress Test). And don’t forget, this includes managing bipolar disorder stress at work, too. It’s important to put these things into place before a major stressor hits, as when it does, symptoms can get out of control quickly.
Bipolar Management Tip #5: Be Careful What You Put into Your Body
A healthy diet can help anyone – including one with bipolar disorder. According to HelpGuide.org, when putting things in your body, watch for:
- Eating a healthy diet – If all you eat is junk food, your body (including your brain) has no quality fuel to run on and it can be impaired (Bipolar Natural Treatment Diet: Does Diet Affect Bipolar?).
- Getting your omega-3s – Omega-3 fatty acids can be helpful in mood disorders like bipolar disorder and, moreover, are good for brain health in general. Omega-3s are available as either over-the-counter supplements or by prescription. You can also increase your omega-3 intake by eating: cold-water fish such as salmon and halibut, soybeans, flaxseeds and nuts like walnuts.
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs – Alcohol and drugs, by definition, affect your mood. As a person with a mood disorder, you can’t afford to have any additional mood dysregulation. Additionally, drugs can interact with your prescription medications in extremely harmful ways.
- Being careful with other medications – Other prescription medications and even over-the-counter supplements such as St. John’s wort, can impact your mood and interact with your medication (Is There a Natural Cure for Bipolar Disorder?). Make sure to run anything you choose to take by your doctor.
You Can Manage Bipolar Disorder Symptoms
While none of the above bipolar management tips can cure bipolar, they can help you more successfully live with it on a day-to-day basis.
Tracy, N. (2017, April 13). Managing Bipolar Disorder: 5 Things You Must Know, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/bipolar-disorder/managing-bipolar-disorder-5-things-you-must-know